selling E-plans

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Tactic, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. Tactic
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Tactic Junior Member

    Does anyone sell boat plans in electronic format? how do you stop the purchaser from passing the files on to friends etc?
     
  2. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Tactic

    We use Adobe Acrobat7 Pro and Autocad. Locks the source up tight while allowing full browsing and printing , even I think 3d viewing but I have not tried that.
    Another big plus is the legal side ...You can email the drawings as pdf's and are secure in the knowledge that you can prove exactly what was sent and the yard cannot just modify your drawing print it and put it in the file, then later claim it was sent as is.
     
  3. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Have you tried programs called "pdf2dwg" and simillar?
    In the same way as a paper drawing can be scanned and vectrized a pdf can be converted to a dwg. So you are never "safe", but I think pdf is safer than dwg/dxf.

    3D pdfs where you can rotate and shade the model can probably be converted to some useful 3d format.
     
  4. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    I have heard of this but have not used it.

    I think most end users are just not that computer literate nor will they bother as they can still distribute the PDF to another builder but they dont remove your title block customer name etc so the theft is plain to see.

    If it was another designer I suppose that is a different story.. I suppose we should be flattered :)
     
  5. Tactic
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    Tactic Junior Member

    Thanks for the comments so far.My situation will be in selling stock plans for a small boat.The plans would be sent via e mail,I don't think I can afford a secure password protected download type system.
    Maybe if I note on the plans the usual stuff..only one boat per plan set ,etc.
    Any more advice would be welcome.
     
  6. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    mikejohns ; never under estimate your enemys,,my kids and all thier friends can do some amazing stuff on these computors,,,just trying to help,,,longliner
     
  7. Murdock
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    Location: Brown & smelly Water nowadays...

    Murdock Junior Member

    for converting pdf to dxf format, this utility works fine, on the basis you're working on a black&white pdf without photos attached.

    http://www.aidecad.com/pdf-dxf-buy.html

    for some cad protection may I recommend a lisp routine called "lockup.lsp (100% free & downloadable) it converts your drawing entities to a minsert block not editable, only there is one way (slightly complicated) to turn it back to editable dwg entities..

    http://www.itspanish.org/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=getit&lid=493
     
  8. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    That's interesting, I'll have a look at that one.

    Tactic, If you need a lowcost pdf writer, I am very satisfied with Win2pdf, www.win2pdf.com.
     
  9. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Put it in a zip file with a password. Mind you, then they just pass on the password too.

    PDFs are a good solution. If you want to go really pro, write some code which will allow access to the files on one machine only. Take a machine-specific value (say, MAC address) and append it to a list of valid users on you're website (obviously the software needs a specific release number but that's no hassle.
     
  10. yago
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    yago __

    I think it would help to separate the issues here

    1- protecting the plans against changes, mostly by accident. If you send some CAD format like dxf and the guy gets a CAD program, plays around with it and because he does not know how to use it he will make some nonsense and find himself with altered dimensions etc. PDF is a good solution because you will always have the original plan that was actually send out.

    2- protect against copy, distribution etc... forget it.
    For one thing, if Microsoft and the entire entertainement industry can't solve it, it's not worth to invent paranoid digital rights management for a simple boat plan. Anyway, whatever file you send,you would expext him to print at least one copy on paper and what is easier than to sent print to "2 copies". Even if you would send only paper prints by mail, he simply goes to the next copy shop. Finally, and unlike sofware programs or movie distribution, what you really send him is data, knowledge, like the table of offsets etc, so once he "knows", that's it, and he can give his knowledge on.

    Simply add the usual "...license for the building of 1 (one) boat..." and that's it. If his friend builds a second one, you will never know. If he starts building 2000 a year you will read it in the press and take him to court and get rich ;-)
     
  11. SailDesign
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    PDF files are an abomination, since you cannot accurately predict what scale they will print at. Great for preliminaries, and for publicity/study materials, too.
    If we are sent pdf's to build from, especially if they say they are sized for Letter-size or A4 sized paper, but patently would be unreadable at that scale, we just open them in Illustrator, and save as an AutoCAD drawing. Find a dimension to scale with, and you can plot the beasts full-size if you want.
    PDFs are a silly idea for protection - as you can see from this thread, there are at least 3 ways to produce scalable, printable drawings from them.
    They are nice and small, however, and great for sketch transmission ("We're thinking of doing this - what do you think?" sort of stuff).
    Steve
     
  12. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    I've been using the AutoCAD drawing sharing format .dwf for a while. The files are small, you can set the scale, the viewer is free and allows pan/zoom/plotting.

    I hope it slows the thieves down, but I don't know. I'm a lot more comfortable sending them out to unknowns, which I guess is worth something. But I'm sure there are ways to convert them back to vector format fairly quickly. The only answer is to get the money before you send out the drawings!

    I have been sent CAD files from a well known plan seller (to try and fix all the included problems) and was surprised to find that the whole works is included in dwg format. Course the "design" was not worth the CD it was stored on. ;)

    Tad
     
  13. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    DWF is nice, vry compact file format.
    You can import it or use it as a background (like xref) in AutoCAD.

    PDFs can be made as A1 or A0 for example.
    In one project I worked on we received more than 1000 drawings as pdfs, with revisions of 20 drawinsg each day, distributed to 20 engineers as A3 adn A1. The OCE plotter could read pdf directly, just drag and drop a bunch of pdfs, while DWG has to be opened and then plotted from Autodesk Dwf Viewer.
     
  14. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Incidentally, PDF is only a step up from Postscript. They are both vector formats, and therefore the data will be defined explicitly. Any scaling problems that arise are probably the over-eager software used to print it. In that respect, most Lini are preferable to MS Windows.

    Postscript is also very useful, as it is a small vector format, but I often find that it is not a common format for data transfer. That said, there are free viewers, and Linux will handle it easily.

    Tim B.
     

  15. roeslerjd
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    roeslerjd Junior Member

    I think if you are sending out pdf's of you plans you are pretty safe in doing so. Because like most documents I believe they store the ID of the computer they are created on. So if you creat the pdf in your office and sent it to a shipyard to be built and they make any additional modifications the pdf will be taged with the identity of that computer. Thus if there are any problems it will be easily traced.
     
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